Vision in black cruelly derailed one smokin' train of thought

Saturday, September 8, 2001 – Print Edition, Page A22

"Did you see which way Jennifer Love Hewitt went?" asked one of my colleagues.

We were standing sipping gin and tonics on the balcony overlooking the magnificent ballroom at the Liberty Grand two hours into the opening night postgala bash.

"That way," I lied, pointing down the stairs leading out of the cordoned-off VIP area.

"She was wearing a backless black sweater and her boobs looked a bit saggy." (The latter part was true.)

He beetled off in search of some dippy quote and I resumed my game of pretending to be a publicist from New York (I'm too pale for anyone to believe I live in L.A.).

One thing the Party Princess has noticed about the film festival nightlife is that the journalists are, hands down, the most unattractive people in any given room, excluding, of course, the on-air television personalities.

But the problem with TV hosts is that they can be irritating -- the way they always expect you to know exactly who they are, no matter how piddly and obscure their half-hour weekly digital entertainment television show is.

Plus it's a well-known fact that film people think all TV people are lame, which is why I was pretending to be a publicist. Irritatingly, people kept blowing my cover.

"So, hon, what films are you planning to see during the festival?" This was my friend D., another (cringe) journalist.

He works for a gay magazine and deejays on the side, so I figured it was okay to talk to him. Plus I was getting lonely.

"Oh, D. Everyone knows that party reporters don't see any movies. It's practically a rule."

"Don't be silly," he said. "Films are what the festival is supposed to be about.

"You know, an appreciation of the art of the cinema."

Cinema, huh? Well if D. was such an all-knowing culture vulture, what screening should the PP see tomorrow?

"You have to see Absolument Fabuleux, the French version of Absolutely Fabulous," he said.

"Everyone is talking about it."

"Fine then," I said and stomped off in search of some edifying cultural conversation.

Outside in the Roman-style courtyard, the first people I bumped into were Maya Mavjee, the publisher, and her boyfriend, Henry Jackman, the philosophy professor.

"Have you seen any intelligent people around here?" I asked them. "Maybe a filmmaker?"

Maya introduced me to Peter Lynch, whose latest film, Cyberman, is about a genius computer geek at the U of T who created the world's first wearable computer. It screens at the Varsity tomorrow.

I'm pretty sure I won Lynch over immediately by indicating that I knew who he was (Canadian documentary filmmakers love that).

I even gushed for a few minutes about how much I adored his last documentary, Project Grizzly (about a guy from Northern Ontario on a quest to wrestle with a grizzly) -- and I wasn't fibbing just to make conversation.

"Why," I asked Lynch, "do you think you are attracted to these alienated, Don Quixote-types?"

"I like to go past the surface of my subjects," he said, "into their interior worlds with all the messy bits and weird contradictions."

"Mmm, yes," I said, formulating a brilliant response -- then Jennifer Love Hewitt walked by and I lost my train of thought.
Party points
Opening night postgala party at the Liberty Grand, Exhibition Place

Fashion                  *

Food                     ***

Flirt opportunities      *

Booze                    ***

Buzz                     *

Eye-candy                *

Atmosphere               ***

Conversation             *****

PPET*                    ***

Overall score            21 points

-*Party Princess Emotional Temperature

Copyright 2001 Globe Interactive, a division of Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc.